It is just the second week of 2017. If you have set your New Year’s Resolution, you could have set losing weight as your goal for the year. You are not alone in this quest for a more vibrant you. According to a Statistic Brain data, “Lose Weight/Healthier Eating” topped the list of resolutions for this year.
By now, many Americans have started engaging in a diet, or a fitness program in the gym that they soon abandon as only 42 percent of the US population would be able to fulfill their goals. Most of them are motivated only for the first month and lost steam as weeks or months pass by.
The growing overweight or obesity epidemic has sounded the alarm for healthcare authorities in the United States. According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 36.5 percent of U.S. adults are obese. Aside from being a laughing stock and having problems like difficulty moving being overweight steps up your body’s risk of getting numerous life-threatening diseases ranging from hypertension, heart diseases, and even some forms of cancer. Your limited capacity of movement can also hamper your productivity.
There are many causes of obesity, but most scientists agree that eating too much food and doing little physical activities are the primary reasons. Our current ultra-busy world and a lack of time to cook lead to a meteoric rise in fast food consumption. These foods are packed with unhealthy levels of calories, carbohydrates, and fat as well as other ingredients that are harmful to your health.
Lack of exercise also prevents you from shedding extra pounds. Again, our modern lifestyle is to blame to some degree for our inactivity. One research shows only 20 percent of jobs today need moderate to heavy physical activity as compared to 50 percent of jobs in 1960, leading to fewer burned calories.
As mentioned above, eating too many unhealthy foods is a key contributor to obesity epidemic. One way you consume too much food is by observing any of the habits below:
- Consuming junk foods – These foods contain ingredients filled with harmful chemicals as well as salt and sugar, substances that contribute to getting excess weight and may endanger your health.
- Eating ‘on the go’ – A study shows that eating snacks while driving or walking may make people overeat later in the day.
- Eating out – Dining in restaurants, especially in a fast food outlet, can lead to ingesting a lot of excess calories. Whenever possible, cook or prepare your meals.
- Emotional eating – Do not make eating a way to calm your anger as well as relieve your stress or sadness. This habit can ruin your diet and can lead to binge eating. If you are experiencing powerful emotions, relax and calm yourself down first before taking a bite.
- Midnight snacking – Avoid munching a late-night snack as your metabolism becomes slow during evenings.
- Skipping breakfast – Taking your breakfast signals your body to secrete dopamine, which is responsible for moderating your food intake. This hormone can reduce your food cravings later in the day.
- Eating while watching TV – All kinds of distractions while consuming your meal can increase your food intake by 25 percent.
To lose weight, replace the habits above can by being eating mindfully. Mindfulness meditation—as introduced by Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn, a professor at the University of Massachusetts, to mainstream psychology—is a form of stress therapy. Mindfulness meditation, derived from Buddhist monks, is done by passively and nonjudgmentally experiencing every sensation at present for a particular period. You can do this practice while eating.
Here are the ways to have a mindful meal:
- Eat slowly – According to experts, it takes around 20 minutes before your brain prompts “I’m full” and “I’m not hungry anymore” signals that turn off your appetite. Savor and cherish the flavors of your meal by chewing it slowly. This practice allows you to enjoy your food without the extra calories.
- Focus on your eating – Pay less attention to your surroundings and focus on what you’re eating. This method will enable your brain to store the details of the food you are eating. If your brain fails to create a memory of what you have eaten, you are prone to eat again for a shorter period.
- Eliminate distractions – A meal should be shared with your partner or family just like in the old days. Eating should be a moment to strengthen your relationship with your partner or family. If you are living alone, avoid the temptation of watching TV, playing video games or doing other distracting activities.
- Get quality sleep – Sleep does not only lowers your stress, but it also facilitates two special events in your body to control your appetite. It is during REM (deep) sleep that the body releases hormones that regulate our appetite. Sleeping less than the ideal seven to eight hours in adults can also lessen our body’s ability to control impulses. So make sure to optimize your slumber by having a comfortable environment complete with gel memory foam mattress and other sleep aids.